Sunday, April 22, 2012


“Grandma, Easter is such a really special celebration, I just wish Easter would last more than one day.”

“Actually it does, Jeffrey! In the Catholic Church from as early as the third century, Easter is a 50-day celebration. It begins on Easter Sunday and extends all the way to Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost commemorates when God gave the Holy Spirit to the disciples. The prefix ‘penta’ means….”

“I know! It means FIVE-something. Like Pentagon the huge five-sided building where the Department of Defense is located in Virginia.”

“You got it! The name Pentecost originated from the Jewish Feast of Weeks which came 50 days after the Jewish Feast of Passover. Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate that feast when the soldiers arrested Him and eventually crucified Him. But I’ll tell you more about Pentecost later. And Passover, too.”

“We can celebrate Easter for seven weeks? So that’s why we are still singing resurrection songs at Mass and reading the stories from the Bible about what happened afterward. It seems like in our Church we get to stretch out the good stuff to enjoy longer. Like at Christmas. We spend four weeks of Advent getting ready for Christmas. That’s when we light the 4 candles in the Advent wreath each Sunday, isn’t it?”

“Yes, and remember how we ‘stretch out’ Christmas for 12 days afterward too! The 12 days begin on Christmas Day and end at Epiphany, January 6. That’s the time the Wise Men or Magi came to worship and bring gifts to Jesus. In some places people give gifts to each other on Epiphany day and sometimes give Christmas gifts on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“I’d like that kind of gift-giving idea! And I sure like the “stretching out” celebrations in our Catholic Church!”

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